Perinatal Program Evaluations: Methods, Impacts, and Future Goals

Suzanne D. Thomas, Jodi L. Hudgins, Donald E. Sutherland, Brittany L. Ange, Sandra C. Mobley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The objective of this methodology note is to examine perinatal program evaluation methods as they relate to the life course health development model (LCHD) and risk reduction for poor birth outcomes. We searched PubMed, CDC, ERIC, and a list from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) to identify sources. We included reports from theory, methodology, program reports, and instruments, as well as reviews of Healthy Start Programs and home visiting. Because our review focused upon evaluation methods we did not include reports that described the Healthy Start Program. The LCHD model demonstrates the non-linear relationships among epigenetic factors and environmental interactions, intentionality or worldview within a values framework, health practices, and observed outcomes in a lifelong developmental health trajectory. The maternal epigenetic and social environment during fetal development sets the stage for the infant’s lifelong developmental arc. The LCHD model provides a framework to study challenging maternal child health problems. Research that tracks the long term maternal–infant health developmental trajectory is facilitated by multiple, linked public record systems. Two instruments, the life skills progression instrument and the prenatal risk overview are theoretically consistent with the LCHD and can be adapted for local or population-based use. A figure is included to demonstrate a method of reducing interaction among variables by sample definition. Both in-place local programs and tests of best practices in community-based research are needed to reduce unacceptably high infant mortality. Studies that follow published reporting standards strengthen evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1446
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015


  • Evaluation of community based public health service programs
  • Home visiting
  • Life course health development
  • Life skills progression instrument
  • Research design and methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Perinatal Program Evaluations: Methods, Impacts, and Future Goals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this